Monday, February 10, 2014

my pregnancy essentials

Well, I have officially entered the third trimester of this pregnancy.
And I can honestly say there is a very surreal feeling that surrounds that realization.
We are in the final stretch! Quite literally if we are considering my stomach right now.
And with that somewhat imaginary line of "crossing over" into this last trimester I have officially acquired some fatigue, indigestion, and the cankles.
I mean, would this be a legitimate experience if I didn't get the cankles? At the end of the day, my puffy ankles are just humorous and they add some comic relief to the otherwise more uncomfortable conditions.

So, when I look back at my pregnancy (so far) there are definitely a few things that I consider to be pretty wonderful. And I thought I would share a few of those things on here.
All you mommas out there, what were/are some of the things you considered to be "essentials" during your pregnancy?
Also, cankle stories are encouraged and appreciated.

1 // Wen Cleansing Conditioner. I started enjoying the benefits of this stuff before my pregnancy. But, it really just feels like I am pampering myself, which is a plus during these months when I haven't exactly felt one hundred percent. The smells are soothing. My hair is healthier, grows faster, and I have found that I don't need a trim as often as a result of split ends.

2 // Clementines. Citrus in general. I feel obsessed because it always sounds good. Matter of fact, during the first trimester when I was struggling with nausea, grapefruits and oranges where one of the few things that always seemed to settle well on my stomach. 

3 // L'occitane Organic Pure Shea Butter. This stuff is amazing. I have been using it all over my tummy to prevent stretch marks and to battle the extreme dryness of winter. A little goes a long way. It also soothes the itchiness that my stretched skin has started to experience. Not to mention, I use it around my scar on my stomach from my recent surgery and it does not irritate my super sensitive skin.

4 // KIND bars. These are the perfect snack. Especially because I personally feel like I am eating something small every couple hours. I find them to be quite filling and they are gluten free. Plus, with my diabetes constantly changing at this point in my pregnancy, I really appreciate that they don't spike my blood sugar (I tend to eat the ones without a lot of fruit).

5 // Burt's Bees Hydrating Lip Balm. It's winter. My lips are constantly in need of moisture. And I really have no idea if this has anything to do with my pregnancy. But, I have used this product pretty much every day for the last couple months. It's especially necessary before I apply any lipstick to my lips. Plus it smells like coconut and pear. So there's that. 

6 // A Notebook. Preferably a compact one that can be stuffed into a purse at a moments notice. I am a list person. And I like to write my lists out every day. And cross things off.  Pregnancy has only brought that tendency out even more (helllloooo nesting). Especially when it comes to keeping track of things I needed to register for and all those doctor appointments. It's the simplest thing and yet it has provided me with a whole lot of sanity to have one notebook that I can go to for all things baby girl.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

favorite posts of 2013

I spent some time looking back at posts from this past year. It is slightly baffling to me how much I forget about where I have been and the things that God has taught me along the way.
So, I thought I would compile a list of my favorite posts that I have written during this past year of 2013. 
More for the sake of remembering and reflecting. 

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Overcome the Lie: Grace filled Faith

I am really excited to be participating in the second annual blog tour for Overcome the Lie. 
If you have not heard of them, I encourage you to check out their site.  
Their focus is on what Jesus has done for us: conquering death on the cross. 
And because of that, we as women can walk in freedom from the lies that we often believe. 

So, what lies have I believed? Too many.
I suppose different seasons of life have often brought different lies into my life.
As of late, I have been convicted of a very specific lie that I have believed for a long time.
One that has grown roots. One that has layers.
A lie that I can not sum up very good in one sentence (even though I have tried).

Quite simply, I have often chosen to play it safe.
To keep my expectations low, so as to never risk disappointment.
You know, try to keep control over this life by dodging discomfort.
Can I tell you friends, these things are symptoms of perfectionism and pride all wrapped into one?
This lie that pushes me to keep control with a perpetual dose of failure anxiety.
The end result, I believe, is small faith in my life.
 I am living off of what I can accomplish and see. Instead of  living off of what Christ has accomplished. Jesus is calling me to a faith in Him that lays my need for perfection at His feet.
 A faith that takes risks because pride is not an issue.

 We see in scripture, that our faith is in direct correlation to Christ in us.
Our ability to have faith can not come from us alone!
"For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God." :::Ephesians 2:8
What a grace filled relief that is. I do not have to strive even to have faith.
I just need to walk in obedience after Jesus.

You see, I want to have a faith life that is not based or built upon what I can or can not accomplish.
But one that is based upon who Jesus is. Because of WHO He is.
I want my faith to reflect that. There is a difference. 

When I walk through life consumed with having control as to not fail. Or to not experience discomfort.
I am putting more weight upon myself and what I can do instead of on who I claim to be a follower of. 
And that is a lie.
Because living that way does not bring peace. Or less pain. It does not spur on faith.
It may provide a false sense of safety and security. A temporary one. 

But, at the end of the day, walking in abandoned faith after Jesus erases fear. Perfect love cast out fear. Fear of failure. Fear of disappointment. Fear of the struggles we face in this life. Fear of not being perfect.
He is the answer to all these things.
He grows and strengthens my faith as I release my grip on the lies. 

I am a work in progress friends. The Holy Spirit is still very much working this out in my life.
I am learning to release my trust in these lies and instead grab onto Jesus.
 I am recognizing practical areas in my life where faith needs to grow.
 And I know He is the one that will accomplish that in me.
He does not leave a good work unfinished friends.

You can also find Overcome the Lie in these places: 

Twitter // Facebook // Pinterest // Instagram

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

For the love of rugs

1 // 2 // 3 // 4

I have a bad case of rug love. I see a wooly pattern from afar and my heart starts beating a little faster. Maybe you know what I mean? 
Rugs bring so much coziness to a space. They instantly make an area feel more like a home. Well lived in. Not to mention, how enjoyable they feel under foot.

The husband and I have had the same living room rug since we got married (7 years and 4 months ago). 
It resembles rug no.3 in style, color, and texture. 
And I have loved that rug. 
It has worn so well. She has faded over time. And she has certainly seen her share of adventures. 
Moving across the country and back. A daily morning attack from kitty's claws. Lots of foot traffic. 
But, the piece is still classic to me. 
And has some sentimentality wrapped up in it's woven fibers.

Above, are some rugs that I think would make any space feel just a little more cozy. A little more like home.
And since I've been wanting an updated rug for our living space, I thought I would share my favorites (after much research).
The old rug will stay in the family. Relocating to a fresh space in our home. 
Hopefully safer from kitty's claws.
 But, still able to welcome us to slide off our shoes when we arrive home.

Monday, January 6, 2014

bump update (in pictures): the first 22 weeks

 1:::: 15 weeks pregnant 
 2:::: 18 weeks pregnant 
3:::: 22 weeks pregnant

I have been horrible at taking pictures of the bump these last 22 weeks. 
It could be because they all end up with me standing in front of a mirror. 
Or because it took awhile in the begining for me to develop what I thought to be a somewhat "photo worthy" bump. 
No worries, I am officially on the bump-growing fast track now.
And literally half of these were taken at my parent's house. 
Plus, one ugly Christmas ensemble covered bump to complete the mix!

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Remembering the old before pursuing the new

Have you read enough recaps of 2013 and goals for 2014 yet? 
If not, feel free to keep on reading. 

A new year is here and I must confess that last year was the first year that I really got serious (as in I followed through) about those resolutions/goals/visions.....whatever you like to title them. 
2013 was definitely a year.
 Ironically, I have read that from more than one recap. I can see a lot of struggles and trials I did not expect when I look back. But, I also see a lot of grace that was flowing through the whole thing.
 And a lot of miracles that flowed out of those trials and a result of that grace.
By far the best thing to happen to Erick and I in 2013 was the news that we are expecting our first baby.
A little girl. And you know, that makes 2013 so much shinier to us. 

As I was reflecting on last years goals I have recognized that it's so easy for me to toss those things aside and move on to new and fresh ideas.
Which in a lot of ways, I do have some new goals and areas that I want to work on.
But, in the midst of God doing something new, I can see how the Holy Spirit is reminding me to not forget what He has already done. Those works of old. He is building on that.
And I have not arrived in those areas that have been refined and are being refined.
There is a gradual building. And I am kidding myself if I think for one moment that any of these areas can be helped or made new if He is not in it.
That's where the change comes from: Christ in me. He refines as I submit and follow in obedience.
And I don't want to pursue things this year in 2014 that are new and fresh if the Holy Spirit is not in them.
If He's not the one leading the change.

With that, here are some of the areas that I am going to be intentional about working on this year with a lot of grace :::

1::: Time spent with Jesus every day. Specifically quieting myself to hear from the Holy Spirit in prayer and Bible reading.

2::: God honoring health. I want to be an example to my daughter. This area has always been a struggle for me because of my perfectionist tendencies. Instead of perfection in every area I just want to be mindful of who I belong to and that I was created to honor God with my body as well.

3::: Practice contentment in living. Simplify. Cut out the excess stuff. Practically, I know this applies to being mindful of what I need and what I want.

4::: Spend less time on my phone (social media) and more time on living and cherishing the life and people God has blessed me with.

5::: Pursue (be unafraid and commit) to a hobby that I've always wanted to try: photography.

6::: Plan out intentional time with my husband every week. My marriage will speak louder than any ministry I am ever involved in. And I want our daughter to grow up seeing that friendship and love that we have.

Monday, December 30, 2013

where feet may fail : a testimony

I have often lived my life, this life, attempting and hoping to dodge pain. Mostly subconsciously. 
But, just the same, I have tried to tip toe and hope my way out of it all.
Painful experiences, physical pain, the pain of loss, the pain of grief, the pain that fear brings.Who likes pain?
 I have come to the conclusion that life is not about making it through without experiencing pain and discomfort in some form and in some way.
Matter of fact, I would dare to say, it's not about "if I experience pain" but more so "when I experience pain." 

These last couple weeks, quite unexpectedly, I got to experience the "when" part of pain. 

"Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness..." (James 1:2-3)

The husband and I went in for a fetal specialist appointment to check in on our baby girl.
And in the midst of an in-depth ultrasound, the doctor discovered a large tumor on my left ovary. 
About the size of a grapefruit large.
And in those beginning moments of trying to figure out and understand if it was real and what it was I could feel the heat rising into my cheeks and all the panic and fear rushing in.
There was no tip toeing around this. 
And in my mind all I could manage was to ask the God of strength to give me that same strength. 
I was teetering on an edge. 
Walking a fine line at that moment between faith and despair that would follow me for many days to come.

This tumor had to come out. We couldn't rule out 100 percent if it was cancerous or not.
The danger lay in the fact that baby girl was going to keep on growing. And she would eventually pop the tumor. If it was full of cancer, those cells would spread rapidly and wherever.
We were submerged at this point. It was Friday, and the surgery was Monday.

The possible risk of losing our baby girl in the midst of this was the hardest and most painful thing I have ever had to swallow.
The thought was unbearable. 
The only thing, and I mean the only thing, that brought comfort was believing that God, my God, had knit her together. He was and is the author of her life. And mine.

"For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother's womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made..." (Psalm 139:13-14)

You know that worship song, the one called Oceans?
Where it talks about feet failing?
I have sung that song a lot in church the last few months.
But, I couldn't quite get that imagery out of my head during those few short days before surgery.
I was walking through a storm, out onto the water with all the waves rushing about.
And there He was. Calling me to come, in faith, and hold onto Him.
And my legs were buckling under the weight. My feet were failing.
I would have never chosen this Lord. I would have never chosen to grow my faith like this. 
Isn't there any easier way?

"Come, I will carry you. I will give you the faith and peace to look above the storm."

And with shaky legs and moments where I felt like I was crawling, I clung to Him.
I asked God to do the miraculous on our behalf. On my behalf. On my baby's behalf.
 I asked for His glory to be shown in this. I cried for healing. I asked for peace.

Though my feet failed He never did.
Two weeks ago, I walked into a hospital clinging to the Word of Life and His words.
And four days later I got to walk out with a baby girl that is still alive and well and growing inside me.
And a tumor that has been completely removed with preliminary results showing it as not cancer.
And though there is healing. Physical healing that is painful in some regards.
He never let go.

You see, I am convinced we can not carry ourselves when the pain comes. And others can not either.
Where can we go when our legs start to give way and break free under us?
Where can we look when those storms roll in?
Where does all our hope and trust begin and end?
Are we ready?


He died for me, to carry me when the pain comes.
He experienced the ultimate pain so I would never walk alone in mine.
There is a greater hope and a greater story and all this world and life has meaning now because of the cross. Even the pain. Every pain. It has meaning. He works good out of the things that try to destroy.

Your feet may fail you at some point in your life. Mine did.
He has been waiting to walk with you, maybe even carry you, through the pain.
That's where His glory is shown the most.

In case you haven't heard Oceans by Hillsong United

And I also want to say "thank you" again to all those that were praying so faithfully for me, Erick and baby girl these last couple weeks. Some of you I have never met face to face and I am humbled and so very grateful that you carried our burdens with us. Our God is full of mercy. Thank you.

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